Register to Vote Call to Commemorate Suffrage CentenaryPublished Wednesday, 31 January 2018
A councillor born just three years after universal suffrage is calling on women to “seize the moment” and make their mark on public life.
Veteran Ribble Valley councillor Joyce Holgate, 86, is calling on women to ensure they are registered to vote and consider standing for election as the UK commemorates the 100th anniversary of the start of voting rights for women.
The 1918 Representation of the People Act gave propertied women over the age of 30 and all men the vote, paving the way for the extension of suffrage to all women in 1928
Councillor Holgate, who has represented Whalley on Ribble Valley Borough Council for 23 years, been borough mayor twice and received an MBE for services to local government in 2011, said: “A hundred years ago, women could not stand for election or even vote.
“So what better way to remember and celebrate those who campaigned tirelessly in the face of great hostility for votes for women than by registering to vote and even standing for election?
“I have been involved in many aspects of community life during my time as a borough councillor and been rewarded and enriched every step of the way.
“I would encourage all sections of the community, particularly woman and the young, to register to vote and have their say in elections, or better still seize the moment and take up public life.”
The campaign for votes for women was started in 1897 by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage founded by Millicent Fawcett, whose statue will be unveiled in Parliament Square next Tuesday (6 February) exactly 100 years since the 1918 Representation of the People Act.
But women’s suffrage is perhaps better known by the more radical Women’s Social and Political Union, founded in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, Christabel and Silvia, dubbed ‘suffragettes’ by the Press, who believed in direct action.
The 100th anniversary of the 1918 Act will be commemorated with events throughout the UK aimed at educating young people about democracy and encouraging women to enter political and public life.
Voter registration is available to anyone aged 16 or over (a person may register to vote at 16, but may not vote until they are 18), a British or qualifying Commonwealth citizen who has the right to enter and remain in the UK, or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or other European Union (EU) member state.
The next local elections in Ribble Valley take place in May, 2019.
To register to vote, visit gov.uk/register-to-vote, or for further information contact Ribble Valley Borough Council’s electoral registration team on 01200 414411.